It’s KayKay time everybody! It’s my immense pleasure to be able to post my latest interview with the incomparable KayKay Sakura. We’ve been planning this piece for a few months now, and I’m thrilled it’s finally finished and ready to share. KayKay is a unique individual, an energetic and positive source of creativity and inspirational energy. She’s a character that I was drawn to because of her great work with latex, however when I researched her work further I discovered a photographer and model who truly captivates. Everyone I have spoken to about KayKay has wonderful things to say about her, and in the course of this interview I can understand why. Such a down to earth lady and someone who really deserves fanfare. Check out our chat, and get to know a terrific lady.
Q: Welcome KayKay, it’s wonderful to have such an energetic and versatile artist on my blog. How are you doing today?
KayKay: I’m doing rather well thank you, and also thank you for having me!
Q: May we start by talking modelling? I know it’s only one facet of your work, but it’s the first aspect I came across. How did you get into the business?
KayKay: I never know how to fully answer a question of “how did you get into the business?” It’s not something I really thought about as a child; it was something I got into when an amazing glamour photographer (Holly Knowles) stumbled across my Facebook and asked if I wanted to model for her. I couldn’t turn down that opportunity and said yes. Since then, I’ve had various friends and other photographers around the South West asking if I wanted to collaborate with them. Seeing as I was still a newbie at that time, I thought to myself “Surely there is no harm in this?”
Q: Did you have any idea what to expect before you started modelling? What were your opinions of the industry before you were involved, and have they changed today?
KayKay: Not at all, the only expectation I had about the industry, was that it’d be a lot more glamorous that it really is. But the media hypes that up and I think I was extremely gullible and too young to understand it at that time. You do make your own views as you go along, as most people do with whatever industry they’re in.
In this industry, especially within the alternative scene, if you meet the right people and you get along with them, you’ll always have them around, which is comforting. And there’s a lot of diva-free models, and that is always soothing for anybody really.
Q: You’ve created a vast and varied portfolio since 2010, and it’s a joy to look through. Your images range from vibrantly colourful to artistic black and white and some amazing alternative and fetish pictures. Do you have a favourite style in which to shoot? What genre of modelling do you prefer to work within?
K: My favourite style as a model would have to be the fashion-esque styled shoots; whether I’m wearing latex or just clothing.
Q: Your alternative fashion shots are beautifully fun, and you have been shot in some wonderful urban locations. Do your photographs ever reflect your own sense of style? Do you have any style icons from your industry?
K: Believe me when I say, I’m plain in the ‘real world’. I’ve noticed I’m constantly wearing black; skinny jeans/leggings, vest tops with vans or pumps. I think in my photographs, that’s where I show how I want to be, and that’s the only time I get to open up and be extremely stylish. If I was to wear whatever I wore in my pictures out in the public in broad daylight, I’d probably get looked at funnily.
I’ve always looked up to Gwen Stefani as my style icon, and in a way I still do now. However, if I could, I’d probably go wild on brands such as Agent Provocateur, Vivienne Westwood, The Kooples, and Jeffrey Campbell.
I probably would also be constantly wearing garments by a good friend of mine, Alice Vandy, her creations are amazing! And I have one of her garments in my portfolio as well.
Q: Another area of modelling that I think you excel in is your work with latex. It’s one of my favourite materials and forms of fashion. How did you get into working with latex, and how does the material make you feel when you wear it?
K: I was quite lucky with working in and with latex, the first time I had properly worn latex for a shoot was for Lady Allura’s Latex; she’d lent me a couple of garments for myself to model and to shoot. I’ve purchased some awesome ‘Starburst Hotpants’ from Lady Lucie in the past as well, and they where lovely to have on.
The material is awesome to have on, however if you’re in it for too long it can get quite uncomfortable. Latex if you really think about it isn’t as glamorous as most people think, you get hot and sweaty and no-one is comfortable when they’re in that position. However, it looks amazing on, so you do try and forget about the downfalls of it. I do feel a little more elegant when I’m wearing latex, though if you’re having a bad (bloated) day, the latex does show that off, which is never cool, but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of breathing in!
Q: I first came across your latex work when I saw you dressed as the Riddler from Batman. It’s a picture that urged me to find out more about your work, and in particular that shot. Could you tell us a little about becoming an extremely sexy Riddler, and what was that outfit like to wear and put on?
K: I can assure you now that the Riddler outfit is a lot easier taking off than it was putting on. When Rubber Monkey Latex first introduced me to the outfit, it had no zip at the back, so it was quite interesting squeezing me into the garment; especially being in such a tiny changing room, but we got me in it. The outfit is actually an amazing piece to put on; though I do think I got too much into character when I was wearing it. I turned into Jim Carrey’s Riddler; quite flamboyant, camp and overly smiley. I actually watched Batman Forever as research before the shoot so I could source his character into my brain.
Q: The Riddler garment is made by Rubber Monkey, a company you have a strong link with. I wondered if you would like to tell us about your love of Rubber Monkey’s products, and what pieces of theirs you have worn?
K: My love for Rubber Monkey isn’t just down to her products; it’s for the lady behind it all. She’s one of the closest friend and really it’s just a bonus we met to be honest.
I’ve worn quite a few of her garments in the past 12 months, when we first encountered each other it was actually through a status looking for models for Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar back in November 2011. Where Ms. Monkey let me wear one of her first creations, one outfit was this off-white two piece set, and the second outfit on that day, was a blue two piece set. I’ve also modelled various creations such as the simple bra and pants combo, leotards, playsuits, adorable pieces like the Dorothy from Wizard of Oz with Ruby Jewel being the Flying Monkey, a Thor inspired outfit, True Heart Bear, and not to forget a one off garment like elegant asymmetric turquoise dress.
Q: Lastly on latex, have you got any advice for people who want to get into wearing and working with it? What is the best way of putting the clothing on and taking it off, as well as caring for it?
K: Advice to people who want to get into and working with latex is approach any designer nicely if you’d like to model their products; I’ve always given designers respect, and so should everyone else really.
The best way to put the garments on is either with talcum powder all over you and inside of the garment. Though what I’ve found amazing for putting on latex garments is Pjur CULT (Dressing Aid & Conditioner) it literally helps slip the latex on without any problems, and it’s my favourite thing to have on me when there’s latex goodies involved. It’s an amazing investment, and it’s makes latex ultra shiny too!
Q: You’ve had some incredible photographers take your picture and create superb collaborations thus far in your career. Who have been some of your most memorable people to work with, and has anyone influenced your own photography work?
K: I’ve worked with some amazing talents in the past two years as a model, especially with my move to the West Midlands. I will always remember my first ever shoot with Holly Knowles, always.
Then there are photography talents like Salleh Sparrow, TwistedPix, Chris Sinnett, Simon Winnall, Andy Watson, Ed Robert, Danniella Jaine and Jemma Dodd, that I’ve been extremely thankful to, for giving me the opportunity to collaborate with them. And even though these are only a handful of names, I think these guys and dolls just deserve a good proper mentioning.
Q: Speaking of your photography, I really enjoy your work behind the camera as well as in front. When did you first become interested in taking pictures? Is it a passion that goes back to your childhood?
K: See now people don’t believe me when I actually say I started being behind the camera first. I’ve had a few photographers be a little stunned when I help them out with lighting or use photography terms. I first picked up a D-SLR when I was 15 and just took snapshots of flowers, landscape, food and the occasional self portrait. It wasn’t till I turned 18 when I pushed myself into taking portrait photographs, working with local South West models to boost my confidence being behind the camera.
Q: You’ve done many stunning self portraits, is using yourself in photographs a way of exploring your modelling and photography at the same time? Or is it a bit of fun to exercise your skills? Or is it more out of necessity?
K: It’s a mixture of all those things really. Some of the images are purely down to my emotion and how I want to show off my creativity in that mind frame.
A lot of my shots are from just playing around really, on my camera and on photo-shop. Also it was a way to learn different techniques, and soaking in all the advice I was given and using it to my full advantage.
Q: Your style of photography is very fresh and again, vibrant. You have a wonderful understanding of colour, and can handle the subject very well. Is colour something that inspires you?
K: Pretty colours will always be a part of me. I just can’t help myself when it comes to colours, even if an image is dark; there is always a splash of blue, green or even pink somewhere in there. It just makes me happy.
Q: You’re equally adept at capturing men and women in your photography, but what is your favourite subject matter? Would you agree that the female form is a remarkable source of beauty in a photograph, or are you able to find beauty in a myriad of places?
K: I’m going to be completely honest with this, but I do find women a lot easier to work with as a subject. The elegance that a lady can portray is something not all men can do. Also, because of the way I am and how I like to show my work, I often find that I always make men look feminine; and not all guys are into that. So yes, I would agree that the female form is a source of beauty, doesn’t matter what kind of story you’re trying to create.
Q: I always love the opportunity to talk to someone who is both a model and photographer. How do you think one aspect of your creativity influences the other? Do you think being a photographer has changed the way you model and visa versa?
K: In a way it has. A lot of people respect that I do both, which is really flattering. I do give all photographers benefit of the doubt these days, because even though for a model the shoot has been wrapped up, the photographer still works their socks off editing like mad. I’ve never even thought about asking a photographer “where are my pictures?” because I know they’re putting their time effort and hard work in, so I always give them time to do what they do best.
With new photographers, I’m able and willing to help them out if needs be, give them advice on techniques and such. I find it a huge compliment when a photographer turns around and asks “KayKay, could you help me on this please?” whilst I’m modelling, because to me it shows that they’re willing to learn and take a bit of advice from me. It’s always a nice feeling when you can help someone out.
Q: What would be your ideal relationship with a photographer? Do you like a lot of direction and sharing of ideas on set, or are you more spontaneous with your work? Also, as a photographer, what is your ideal relationship with a model? Do you like models to come with their own ideas, or do you like to take charge of a shoot when you’re behind the camera?
K: In a way, I do like some direction from photographers, as I don’t often push myself to my full limit with poses. However, I’ve always found that most shoots I do when I’m modelling are quite spontaneous, there’s not much planning and it’s just one of those “let’s get on and shoot!”
Myself being a photographer, I do sometimes like it when a model comes prepared and she knows how to get herself into a position, only because I’ll feel bad for pushing a model way too much with poses. In all fairness, those I’ve worked with in the past (and I’m sure in the future too) are all superstars, and they’re just adorable to work with.
Q: Finally KayKay, I’d love to touch on your own sense of style. You have a very unique and beautiful look. You are constantly reinventing yourself with ever changing hair styles and modelling projects. Is it fun to play around with different looks, and do you have any plans for future stylistic or fashion changes?
K: I do enjoy playing around with different looks as it just gives a bit more of a character in my portfolio and as a person. But I think, no matter how much my fashion taste changes in the future, I will be blonde as long as I can.
Q: I couldn’t interview you without talking about your remarkable tattoos. You have some gorgeous artwork on your body, and I’d love to know more about the pieces and the decisions behind them. I particularly love your chest and stomach pieces. Could you at least talk about those two designs here?
K: My chest actually links with my arm piece; I grew up watching Sailor Moon right though my teenage years. My uncle would go back to Hong Kong for holidays, and whilst he was out there he’d send me V-CDs. For ages I wanted a chest piece, but I hadn’t known really what I wanted done. Then it dawned on me that Usagi had a chest locket so she can transform into Sailor Moon, but I didn’t want it as just that, so I had the tattoo artist (Karl Bowker: Kamikaze Ink) add in a keyhole.
My stomach was something I had planned and designed by myself for a good year, and then tattoo artist (Dave Marshall: Canvas Tattoos) worked his magic over it and cleaned it up for me. The writing says “Bloom to Blossom & Bloom to Perish”, these are lyrics from No Doubt, though people only recognise it from ‘What are you waiting for?’ which isn’t actually where I got it from. I’d first heard the line from one of their B-Side songs, which was called ‘Beauty Contest’. If you listen to the song it kind of makes sense especially with the industry I’m in. In the original design, I actually had red roses, but as this tattoo was a birthday present from my Godmother, I wanted to include both her favourite flowers (which are Orchids) and colour (purple). My Godmother had no clue I was going to get this done ‘til I showed her, and she was really touched by it, which was the main aim I was reaching for.
Q: How do you find the experience of getting a tattoo? Do you enjoy the pain sensation, or is that an aspect you just deal with to get the wonderful results?
K: I’m actually okay with dealing with pain, but I do have my limits. I still think to this day, that my stomach piece was by far the worst! Happy to say, I won’t be doing that again. The pain sensation and just dealing with it is something you’ve gotta do. It’s always worth it!
Q: Could I ask about your upcoming projects please KayKay? What are you working on at the moment, and where can fans of your modelling and photography work see you next?
K: At the moment I don’t really have anything specific I’m working on. Though I am hopefully going to be working with LatexGirlsHD (Cole Black) and other gorgeous ladies very soon on something pretty exciting. The best way to keep up with my work is my Facebook fan page, as I’m always updating that. Unfortunately, I am going through some technical issues with my website, so I can’t update that as often as I’d like to, but I’m hoping to sort that out as soon as possible.
Q: Can we please end with Bernard Pivot’s questionnaire KayKay?
What is your favourite word? I do tend to use the ‘C U Next Tuesday’ a bit too much… I’ve often found myself saying ‘awesome’ on shoots quite often too.
What is your least favourite word? I don’t really have a least favourite word.
What turns you on? The better half in a suit; nothing beats a guy in a lush suit. Moustaches/beards. Hip bones.
What turns you off?I don’t like feet. Or bad body odour, but I think that’s most people.
What sound or noise do you love? Laughter. Music. Babies laughing always gets me smiling too.
What sound or noise do you hate?I really despise it when my boyfriend (not intentionally) scrapes his knife on his plate and it makes that really horrible high-pitch squeaking noise. Ugh, it’s making me shudder just thinking about it.
What is your favourite curse word?The one that begins with an F and ends with a K…
and the C U Next Tuesday.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Fashion designer would be awesome. I wanted to be a Police Woman when I was little… Don’t think I’d have the balls for that now.
What profession would you not like to do? Nurse/Vet, I wouldn’t last a second in theatre.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?“You’ve obviously done something right to make it up here?”
Massive thanks to KayKay for her time and energy. It was my pleasure to feature her here and I really hope you guys enjoyed reading. I’ll put some links below so people can keep track of KayKay’s projects, I recommend following her various sites and pages; it’s always lots of fun!
All above images were provided by KayKay and used with her permission. They are the products of the following artists in order of appearance: 1)KayKay Sakura by ChrisSinn Photography wearing Rubber Monkey latex 2) KayKay Sakura photography featuring Ruby Jewel wearing Rubber Monkey latex 3)TwistedPix photography KayKay wearing Rubber Monkey latex 4) KayKay Sakura photography of Betty Havok wearing Rubber Monkey latex.